The NASCAR iRacing series is off to a great start featuring legendary drivers virtually racing those who are currently part of the Cup Series. The NASCAR race schedule has been postponed through May 3rd, but the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series will run several virtual exhibition races while the traditional format is on hiatus.
NASCAR has not specified the number of laps, but it is being called the O’Reilly Auto Parts 125. Given Texas Motor Speedway is 1.5 miles this would give the race an estimated 83 laps. NASCAR noted in the press release that the races will last 90 minutes. Given these are exhibition races, there is no purse for the winning driver, per Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass.
“There is no purse for the iRacing eNASCAR Pro Invitation race Sunday at virtual Homestead (1:30pm ET, FS1) — it is an exhibition. Some teams are doing sponsorship deals for paint schemes. #nascar @NASCARONFOX,” Pockrass reported on Twitter.
The traditional NASCAR iRacing series features 40 professional gamers competing for more than $300,000, per NASCAR. The latest series is for bragging rights as drivers practice social distancing.
Danny Hamlin Won the Innaugural Race
Denny Hamlin won the first race of the series on the virtual Homestead track. Hamlin has quite the setup to practice with an estimated cost of $40,000 as NASCAR.com detailed.
Hamlin, for example, sat in a rig with roll-bars and three computer screens – a set-up he estimated probably cost upward of $40,000.
The virtual races featuring your favorite drivers may not have money on the line, but that does not mean that the group does not want to win. NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer admitted that drivers are practicing at the virtual track every day.
“Hell yes, it’s serious,” Bowyer said, per NASCAR. “This is a big deal. Did you see the viewership? A million views. I want to win this thing big time for myself, for my partners, for everybody. You want to be the man in front of a million viewership…Everybody is practicing big time…So, it would be an understatement to think that it’s not serious.”
The iRacing Series Also Features Retired Drivers Including Dale Earnhardt Jr.
The group of drivers competing in the iRacing events includes former drivers. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second in last week’s race and the legendary driver admitted he is hoping to get some exposure for Filter Time, a business he now co-owns.
“@FilterTime Chevy for me Bob. As an owner with @BlakeKochRacing in this relatively new business, it’s an incredible opportunity,” Earnhardt replied to Bob Pockrass’ tweet about sponsors.
Here is a look at the list of drivers for the NASCAR iRacing O’Reilly Auto Parts 125.
NASCAR iRacing Drivers: O’Reilly Auto Parts 125 (Texas Motor Speedway)
|8||Dale Earndhardt Jr.|
|38||John Hunter Nemechek|
|47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.|